Dublin: Ireland’s Foodie Destination
I f someone had told me 10 years ago that Ireland was becoming a ‘foodie destination,’ I would have taken a mouthful of my bland beef stew and laughed in their face. But now, I have returned from my motherland filled with pride at how far my country has climbed on the culinary ladder.
On arrival to Dublin’s five star hotel, The Merrion, I was welcomed to a Tudor-sized portion of seafood; Galway oysters, lobster, and scallops with a slither of Irish black pudding. The hotel’s executive chef Ed Cooney, a robust Cork man with an unparalleled passion for local produce, talked the table through the history of every morsel on the plate. Clearly, we’ve come a long way from potato farls and dry pasta salad.
Surrounded by some of the city’s best bars, there are countless reasons to visit The Merrion. It’s not so much a hotel as the Irish equivalent of Tate Britain, boasting an unrivalled selection of 19th and 20th century Irish art. But the only way to really experience the collection is to devour it – their luxurious Georgian Drawing Rooms offer ‘Art Afternoon Tea,’ with artisan cake designs from pastry chef Paul Kelly, inspired by their various paintings.
If you can bring yourself to cast off your Merrion robe and explore the city, defy expectation and try Temple Bar in broad daylight. Here on a Sunday morning, the who’s who of the Irish food industry come to life offering fresh bread, hot cider and organic cheeses to cure a weary whiskey head. If you haven’t gorged on Cashel Blue, leave some room for lunch at Patrick Guilbaud’s, Ireland’s only two-Michelin starred restaurant, just next door to The Merrion. At Guilbaud’s, the dishes are served by a synchronised rising of the cloche, bouches are amused before each meal, and palates cleansed in between.
This feature appeared in print only in The Resident, The Hill, SW, Living South, Westside and The Guide magazines (this is an archive article please be aware some of the information above may no longer be in date)